Thursday, July 31, 2008

Home at last

I got discharged this afternoon.My platelet count has risen to 41000 (not yet normal but already considered safe) so my doctor deemed me fit to finally get out of my hotel (este hospital pala) room. I went through the discharge process like clockwork. Gleneagles was quite efficient from preparing my bills to taking out my IV (although medyo nanghina ako nung nag spurt ang dugo..). Am I glad na covered ng employer ang aking bills. My four day stay cost nearly 50,000 pesos in hospital charges alone. Yikes!

I just got home and am still reeling a bit from all the nausea of the ride. It was traffic going back and the taxi was quite hot. But I'm just glad to be back.

Now the real battle begins. The side effects of the drug is starting to come out-- hotflushes, thirstiness and my ever favorite manic phase. hehehe.. imagine pag dating ko dito sa house, i felt the urgent need to just classify my stuff. I organised the pantry (sabi nga ni reg, mare malala ka na pag pati kwarto ko inayos mo!), and sorted out the leftover freebies from the hospital. I felt the need to do something productive. I'm drinking water like crazy and I feel like a boat. Pinigilan ko na lang ang sarili kong linisin ang kusina. Over na yon. hehe.

I know it will be crazier in the next few days as I negotiate the side effects of prednisone and dapsone. And I am apologizing in advance to all those who will witness my kaadikans (tama si gidiyap.. magaadik na naman ako nito. hehehe). I've been through it before. Buti na lang may KFC to comfort us.

But these moments will past. I know they will. I have to believe they will.


16000 and counting

My platelet is up to 16000 as of yesterday. My first major good news since landing in this hospital last Sunday. I actually one my bet with Liz last tuesday-- we had a bet on what my count would be. Hers was 10000, mine was 16000 (say mo Madame Auring, exacto ang prediction ko!) and the price was was lunch over at Mamma Klassik Kitchen (vegetarian set for 1.60RM?)

Of course, there is a price to pay for this boost-- I now look like a real honest to goodness oompah loompah. O sige para mas cute ng onti-- mukha kong monay. hahaha. Pramis. I can't even feel my face now. Ganito siguro ang pakiramdam ng mga nagpapabotox. I told my friends that I feel like helium gas was pumped into my cheekbones and I look like a balloon.

Pag naging kahawig ko na si Hetty, i think time to panic na yun. Worse pag si jollibee na. hahaha. For now sabi ni ves, magpakasaya na lang muna akong maging newest member ng "teletubbies"


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Bestfriend's Birthday

I'm taking time out from my health issues today (30/07/08) to greet my bestfriend on this special occasion. Ella and I first met back in 1998. I was a batch older than her but since I shifted I hanged around UP a couple more years after my batch graduated. We became friends because of Peter, who was like me, a forever tambay of the org UP MMC. I still vividly remember the first time we really became friends--she asked Peter to ask me if they could use my car to get her PC from the house. She and her groupmates needed it for a project in school and since she was color coded, she couldnt go home. After that encounter, we started hanging out more and more.

I think our friendship just bloomed naturally. We became real close and we'd hang around almost everyday. We became the eternal lunch buddies and we'd even meet up as far as away as makati for lunch (even when we were working) just to eat together. The years went by and we became the best of friends.

Now 10 years later, we are soul sisters. Ella knows me far more than any other person in this planet. She saw me triumped, fall, pick up the pieces, and try again. Throughout the drama of my so called life, she has always been there. And even though there were times when I'd neglected her, she never left my side. Kahit na nung isang araw, nageemote ako because of my platelets, she refused to let me feel sorry for myself.

So I thank her today and wish her the best birthday ever. And eventhough I wouldn't be able to fulfill my promise of celebrating her birthday with her personally this year, I am there in spirit. belated na lang ang celebration namin next week when i get home. For now, classmate ikaw na muna ang proxy ha! :)

July 30 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Hate Needles

I was woken up at 530 this morning by the nurse to get my blood and other vitals (Bp, temperature, pulse rate, etc). Half asleep, I gave my right arm to be pricked. Without warning, she just jammed the needle right into my right arm. Anak ng tinapa ni Batman at superman!!Masakit men!!! Sige exag yun ng onti. Pero shet pwet I nearly stood up and punched her there. I already semi warned her that I am scared of needles. I've never really gotten used to them despite being pricked probably thousands of times since I was 4 years old. Usually the other nurses would give me the pep talk first (okay just breathe, etc etc) and warns me right before that big prick. But no! siguro inaantok din siya or akala niya I was joking when I said that I was afraid of needles. After all at my age, I shouldn't be (but I'm unique!!hehe). The worse part was after the prick, she had to show me the blood dripping. And do you know what I'm scared of more than needles (well sige, heights but more than that?) BLOOD. Hay lord! natest ang powers ko.Gusto ko na mag faint pero nakakahiya (buti na lang Vanity is a sin talaga!) It was so darn painful for the next 30 minutes that I wanted to punch someone only I couldn't because I would get a pasa in the process.

Buti na lang may net na this morning. At masarap ang nasi lemak for breakfast. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kidnapped For Ransom: My Platelets

After nearly 3 years of being officially under remission (5 years after my last relapse), my lifecoach is back-- my ITP that is (to all those who are unfamiliar with this, itp refers to idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpurra. Spelling? Pink na lang po! hehe.. its a bleeding disorder). Yesterday I discovered the presence of red petechaies (red lang talaga ang petechaie, cannot be blue, or green) all over my legs and arms (imagine na pinagtripan ako ng mga kids at sinulatan ng red pentel pen all over).

After attending the dedication ceremony for Chris' daughter (syempre nakiparty muna bago magpaconfine diba?) and naaki "alive alive" kay Pastor Rudy (na gustong palitan ni ninong jay) I went to Gleneagles hospital (our version of Asian hospital) and had a blood test. Pinagpustahan pa ko ng mga residente at attending sa ER kung gano daw kababa ang platelets ko. Ayos! gawin ba kong lotto number? Ayun awa ng dios, talo silang lahat. Kasi ang platelet ko is down to a magic number called "4" hehehe. (fyi ang normal is 150 x10 to the 6th power). Mas nagpanic sila sa kin dahil naglalakad pa daw ako. A transfusion was ruled out by the hematologist since I wasnt bleeding. I just needed to stay put in the bed.

One day later eto, nagpapakapasaway pa din. Syempre kelangan ko mag internet. Namamatay na ako sa boredom. hahaha. kaya please kausapin niyo ko sa YM. haha.. Im normal apart from the pasa and bruises. Same old hazel na taga book ng badminton court (although si charles ang in charge muna.. uy! parang yung tv show!) si hazel na nangungulit sa mga tao. Now i have no excuse to finish my two presentations for the PAP conference 2 weeks from now (see im still planning my vacations).

I am not in denial. Nor am I not taking this illness seriously. But I've had this ITP since I was four. And one thing i've learned through our 27 year friendship is that ITP was never meant to make my life miserable. It was meant to make me appreciate life more. And I hate it when people look at me with pity in their eyes. I have enough self pity to go around thank you. But just like Morrie (Tuesdays with Morrie), I only allow myself 5 minutes of self pity per day. Then I move on. I need to move on. Because I only have 23 hours and 55 minutes for that day left to live the best life I could live.

So thank you to all those who texted and wished me well. Thanks to all those who visited and called. But most of all thank you to those who made me feel that I was still the same old me even if they were having a hard time hiding their concern. You don't know how much I appreciated that-- to be treated just like I was the same old me.

So kung sakasakaling masalubong niyo ang platelets ko, paki sabihan na umuwi na sa rm 502 ng Gleneagles. Para naman makapagempake na kami sa paguwi ko sa pinas. Excited pa naman akong kumain na muli ng crispy pata at maging coffee kay idol sa starbucks (ay Figaro na ba tayo?).

If there's a will,there's always a Jaime.

Impossible? Not!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mushy Movie Night

"Dear Holly, I don't have much time. I don't mean literally, I mean you're out buying ice cream and you'll be home soon. But I have a feeling this is the last letter, because there is only one thing left to tell you. It isn't to go down memory lane or make you buy a lamp, you can take care of yourself without any help from me. It's to tell you how much you move me, how you changed me. You made me a man, by loving me Holly. And for that, I am eternally grateful... literally. If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you're sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you'll try to see yourself through my eyes. Thank you for the honor of being my wife. I'm a man with no regrets. How lucky am I. You made my life, Holly. But I'm just one chapter in yours. There'll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don't be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. P.S. I will always love you" -Gerry Kennedy (P.S. I love you the movie)

I was talking to a friend the other night while watching a movie I recently downloaded. It was an old film starring Hilary Swank and that guy from 300. Basically in the film HS lost her husband and every month for a year he sends her letters telling her how to move on and live a life without him. It's absolutely mushy i know. But there was something about the film that moved me. Especially when Gerry sent his last letter. I was really crying after Holly read the line "Dont be afraid to fall in love again." My friend laughed at my admission of being mushy again. Imagine me sitting infront of the pc bawling my eyes out hahaha. It's been a while..

The film reminded me of our fear of getting hurt. Life isn't always about happy endings and for some it could be one sad goodbye after the other. And sometimes, those hurts pile up until they reach a point when we become so afraid to even try. We become cynical and closed to even the possibility of investing in our feelings once more. And that to me is the saddest possible thing that could happen.

So I always remind myself of that-- that I shouldn't be afraid to care or to risk. The chance of laughing and smiling like crazy once more is enough to warrant taking a leap of faith every now and then. Gerry was right. If we fear making mistakes then we are in the wrong species. ("Then you're in the wrong species, love. Be a duck")

My kapitneighbor ate billie told me a while ago how I'm so easy to read and how I light up everytime I am happy. And now I realize that I want that light to always shine on me.

Coz I deserve that kind of glow.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Itago niyo na lamang ako sa pangalang...Hazer

Magsusulat ako sa tagalog para sa "entry" na ito. Wala lang. Para maiba lang ang istyle ng kwento. Saka mas masaya siyang ikwento sa wika natin. So ano ba ang kwento? Excited ka naman masyado.. o sya sige. eto na siya.

Nagpareserve ako sa Restoran King Crab kahapon para sa hapunan ng aking mga kaopisina at kaibigan. Huling hirit bago muling maglakbay si bossing (sabi ni atebillie yan). So yun nga, tumawag ako, isang tsekwa ang nakasagot. Sabi ko, "can i make a reservation for dinner later? 6 persons." (with matching British accent pa). Tinanong niya kung kanino ipapangalan at sabi ko, "Dr. Hazel Ramos" Pinaspelling pa niya sa kin kaya kahit hirap na hirap akong isipin ang A-B-K-D, dahan dahan kong binigkas (again with Matching British accent and spelling) "Haytch- Ei- Zed-E-L, R-A-EM-O-ES" Sabi nung babae, "okay see you later!"

So ok na diba.. Fast forward na tayo sa oras ng kainan.. Gutom na gutom naming binagtas ang Kelana Jaya LRT line at naglakad patawid ng hiway (para kaming naglalakad patungo sa dulo ng bahaghari). Pagdating sa restoran (ganyan ang spelling dito) eh tinanong ako nung receptionist "do you have reservations?" Buong gilas kong sinagot, ng "Yes, under Dr. Hazel Ramos." Parang di niya ako naintindihan so pinakita na lang niya sa kin ang listahan, wala ang pangalan ko, pero may isang kahawig.. Hmm.. inisip ko, ako ba ito? siguro naman.. Di ko na kinontra at since gutom na ako, sabi ko na "that's it pancit." Tinuro niya ako patungo sa isang malaking lamesa sa may dulo ng kwarto. Pagdating sa aming hapagkainan, may malaking papel (cartolina na pinutol upang maging isang nameplate) na may pangalang nakasulat.

Ayos. Binigyan ako ng panibagong pangalan. In the feyrness, andun ang doctor. At least tumama dun diba? Sayang naman ang anim na taon ko sa sa grad school kung di man lang magagamit minsan minsan ang aking titulo (kahit na sa restoran lamang). Yung Hazer pwede na din.. sounds like naman.Parang binigkas ni Batman ang "Hazel" (Para sa mga nakapanood ng The Dark Knight, napansin niyo ba na nagiging nasal si Batman pag siya ay Batman at di na si Bruce Wayne? Siguro naiipit ng costume niya ang ilong niya no?) Pero yung Loros? hmm.. sang planeta galing yun? Maingay ako tulad ng isang loro (di ako nagpapanggap na shy tulad nina Shyboy 1 at Shyboy 2) pero malayo naman ata sa Ramos ang Loros (inispelling ko pa diba?). Hmm.. baka naman yun ang apelyido ng aking soulmate? Nagkita na ang aming pangalan pero kami hindi pa? (naligaw na naman siya?! Oh gosh pulgash, he desperately needs Mapking)

Mali man ang pangalan ko, masasabi ko pa ding, panalo ang Restoran King Crab (para sa inyong impormasyon, may branch din sila sa Johor kung nalalapitan kayo masyado sa Petaling Jaya Branch). Ang sarap ng Crabs (syempre Restoran King Crab nga eh!) pati na ang steamed fish, Tofu with mushrooms and itlog na pula, Chicken in dried chili (na may pinya huhuhu.. kaya pinasa ko ke shyboy 2 ang manok), mixed veggies (para healthY) at nasi puti (kanin po). Kahit na sobrang sakit ng tiyan ko (food poisoning ang drama ko the whole day), kain pa din (crabs to noh, walang sakit sakit ng tiyan dito). Salamat sa aking drug dealer (este Mobile Mercury Drug pala) na dinalhan ako ng kremil s at gamot sa dyspepsia ("Baka naman dyspepsia yan!" wika ng ad sa pinas) ay nakakain ako ang malumanay. May second round pa. haha.

Matapos ang 2 oras ng paglamon, naubos din namin ang pagkain.. Parang dinaanan ng bagyo. Nagbayad kami (super sulit men!) at nagyosi break ang mga yosi boy and gel habang ang iba sa min ay namasyal sa aquarium ng crabs. Kelangan daw kasi naming humingi ng tawad sa mga kamag anak ng mga alimangong minurder ng kusinero para sa aming kasiyahan at magiwan ng aming mensaheng "sa susunod kayo naman ang kakainin namin"

Naglakad muli kami pabalik ng tren at umuwi na sa aming mga tahanan.

Ayan tapos na ang kwento. Ang hirap pala magtagalog. Shucks, its been so long (bwahahahaha)...

Dati call me stanley ang drama ko (mas mahabang kwento ito, saka kung gusto mo malaman, kelangan maging mega super duper overly close friend kita muna) pero ngayon,

itago niyo na lamang ako sa pangalang HAZER.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Frozen Delight

I now know how meat feels in the freezer. I'm in Chulan tower right now for our class on "Occupational Health and Safety Laws: An international perspective" and we have the whole floor to ourselves (all 5 of us). And its freezing like winter. I've already downed several cups of hot water that my tummy now feels like a hot water bag. My head is aching and I am shrivering. It's not helping my feverish feeling at all.

I don't really understand how come there's no darn thermostat control in this office building. It's either galit sa TNB (malaysian version of Meralco) ang mga tao dito or gusto nilang isimulate ang UK weather sa Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Even Angeli (whose from the UK) is already complaining.

Hmm... I wonder if i could request for a fireplace here. Para authentic na talaga ang winter theme namin. :D

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just for Today

And there we were, in a kind of harmony; and the evening was so beautiful, that it made a pain in my heart, as when you cannot tell whether you are happy or sad; and I thought that if I could have a wish, it would be that nothing would ever change, and we could stay that way forever...
-Margaret Atwood "Alias Grace"

Some things are worth remembering. Even if you can't say them.
An ordinary day turned extraordinary
One simple grace at a time.
Enough said.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Miss Universe Question

Student: What is the relation between these movies and our lectures?

Hazel: (thinking out loud)... wala gusto ko lang kayong torturin at papanoorin ng global warming.. We are talking about health after all and the challenges of developing policies for health and safety. With that comes a multitude of issues and questions such as those posed by the issue of global warming (what the heck.. wala akong maisip na iba.. pwede na ba?)

Student: Ok.

Hazel: (thinking out loud pa din)... yun lang! yun lang ang reaction mo..
Class Dismissed.

It wasn't my best moment today. Not only was I dead tired from the day long administrative but I was also suffering from a bad migraine. The cafeteria food did not help (Kelan pa naging chicken burger ang tasty bread?) nor the rains that made the entire building freezing. I wasn't really supposed to teach but unfortunately my colleague wasn't well. kaya ayun, nasabak muli ako.

Another adventure in a day in the life of a teacher..

Next question please

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Falling from Grace

I did a Miriam Quiambao yesterday. I was walking with Angeli along Bukit Bintang when I lost my footing and tripped. I fell on the side of the road right in front of the JW Marriot Hotel/Starhill galery. I immediately got up and walked away as if nothing happened. haha. I didnt even check for broken bones. My only concern was if anyone around was laughing. hahaha.

To my credit Angeli said I did fell gracefully. I think I've mastered the art of slipping/falling thanks to badminton that the moment I knew I was falling I braced the fall to minimize damage to my bones. Unfortunately my knees graced the hard cement and caused two peso size bruises to appear.

For several minutes, I felt like I was five years old again to the time I fell flat on the on ground while chasing after a basketball rolling down the street where we lived. I came home bleeding on both knees and receiving a long sermon from my mom in the process. Now 26 years later, I was still my clumsy self. Only this time I was wearing heels.

When we got to the restaurant, my knees were stinging. I finally found the guts to look at them and true enough there were bruises and cuts all over. I silently said a prayer of thanks for the minor bruises (it could have been worse you know) at the same time laughed at myself for the act of stupidity.

There's a saying that the reason why we fall is because we need to learn to stand up again. With every stumble, we get up and try once more. That's life. It's all about falling down and getting up, falling down ang getting up once again. ..And sometimes when we are lucky enough, someone will there waiting to catch us. Kaso mukhang naligaw ata siya.. di kasi gumamit ng mapking. hahaha.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I was walking from KL Sentral to the Monorail station when a sign board in one of the stalls along the narrow pathway caught my eye-- Tiub 10RM. I thought to myself, what the heck is a "tiub?" I was thinking, there must be some new fad that is gaining popularity as there were a couple of signs that posted it. Then it hit me-- the store meant "Tube" or what we girls like to wear under see through blouses or as a standalone top. I was laughing all the way to the office and couldn't help but remember all those funny road signs that we have in manila. Meron din pala dito.. parang Iejept ni Manny.

All throughout the day whenever I wanted to laugh I would think about that small sign. It has been a really long day. I had my class for Org Development and Change, I prepared for my Law class tomorrow (yes, you heard it right folks, im teaching law... este Health and Safety Law), and even went to the Philippine embassy to get my OEC and driving license authenticated (na hinayupak na 96.25 RM..panalo! mas mahal pa sa actual license kong 247.50 lamang sa pinas).

The "tiub" reminds me of appreciating the simple stuff-- and the things that make life unique. After all, according to Jerry Maguire, "we live in a cynical cynical world." I mean despite the stress of work and cramming, I still had a relatively good day. I got to relearn strategic leadership from Peter Senge's point of view. I got to eat ruffles sour cream cheddar chips which is an absolute comfort junk food. I had a really nice lunch of bbq roasted chicken with shrimp dumplings. I managed to get my OEC without needing to queue up for a long time. And I managed to finish my lectures and readings for tomorrow so I could actually take time off to write this blog. After class I went out for dinner and ate my favorite club sandwich from DOME cafe which is a must try for anyone. And after a long chat with Angeli, I managed to get back home safe and sound.

See sometimes appreciating simple things really do change our perspective. Mali man ang ispelling at mali man ang pagkabigkas, pinaalala pa din nito na sa isang sulok ng kanilang mundo, may mga bagay na nabibili pa din sa maliit na halaga. Sa halagang 10 RM may bagong TIUB ka na.

And at the end of the day you'll realize that everything that happened made sense. That everything is part of the giant adventure called life. And you just have to learn to enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Return of the Other

The last time "the other"visited was several years back.I was still in Manila living a totally different life. I was very optimistic then that I welcomed the other's arrival with open arms. I thought at that time it was things will turn out differently. Unfortunately it didn't happen. Life had its way of changing course at the least expected moment. And so despite a heavy heart, I had to say goodbye. After all it wasn't something that I could hold on to. I held on to the good memories but I've learned to let go of the bad.

I learned about "the other" from my favorite author-- Paulo Coelho. Call it fear, insecurity or both. It usually comes after the moment of bliss. It arrives the moment you learn to admit that you care. You start feeling insecure and helpless, as if your heart is being torn into pieces for no reason at all.

When I left, the other left and stayed away. And though it meant having no fears, it also meant that a part of me died-- the part that remained hopeful about the mysteries of yet to come. I remained the dreamer that I was but part of me stopped believing in those dreams. The other was never meant to destroy us but rather to strengthen us and make us choose the right path to take. The other was sent for us to take that leap of faith-- to jump into the unknown and embrace whatever comes your way.

The other night I had a dream. I was watching a video and I was trying to make sense of the violence in the video. I told my friend who was there that I needed to understand--I needed to understand what happened so that I could keep my faith in people intact. I believe the dream was speaking to me about my own faith in people and how in the recent years my faith in people have wavered. Maybe I've grown a bit cynical or maybe I just went through so much that I needed to become wary. I don't really know.

But now "the other" has come back. I sensed it creeping slowly. And though I am scared, I feel a sense of bliss-- because with its return also meant that the part of me that died several years ago is coming back to life. And maybe little by little I am slowly going back to how I was before.

I am rambling again. And I dont really know why. Maybe its time to take that leap of faith. Or maybe I am just being me once more. :)